Transparency International, the think-tank behind the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), has published their 2018 version of the index. According to the CPI, Denmark is first among the least corrupted countries in the world with a CPI of 88, New Zealand second with 87, and then Singapore, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland third with 85.


As a “flawed democracy” (their words, not mine), we are an outlier in that category. The CPI emphasizes how the systemic failure of countries to control corruption contributes to the worldwide crisis of democracy. No “Full Democracy” scores below 50 while very few autocratic states score above it.

What does this mean?

From the data, Transparency International concludes what we already know, that a healthy democracy is key to fighting public sector corruption.

Our research makes a clear link between having a healthy democracy and successfully fighting public sector corruption. Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage.

Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International 

From the map, the distribution of higher scoring countries are concentrated in the West, which makes Singapore an outlier. We do have a somewhat healthy democracy, I guess?

(Apart from unilaterally declaring a reserved Presidental Election, raising the CPF withdrawal age time and time again, auto opt-in to delay the CPF withdrawal age to 70, et cetera…)

How does Singapore fare compared to the nations around us?

One important factor Transparency International might have missed is that well-paid public servants is also key. 😉

In the picture above, you can see how our sunny island compares to our neighbours. We are a beacon of light in the region! A paragon of virtue! Or are we? Our politicians are paid far more than any other country’s leaders, so our system works, I guess?

This begs the question, how are other countries doing it?

Let us know what you think!